Interview with Ville at Gauntlet
Ville Valo: How old are you?
The Gauntlet: Just turned 32.
Ville: And you have two kids?
The Gauntlet: Yes, a 6 and a 2 year old, both girls.
Ville: Fuck, I want babies so bad. I want a family so bad but being on the road, it would be so hard. I always have loved kids and wanted to start a family, but the problem is, being on the road for 6 months out of the year. I am right handed and my wrist is killing me.
The Gauntlet: Why is your wrist killing you?
Ville: [makes a hand gesture] I am a proper boyfriend. I am trying. It is hard. [laughs] I am such a romantic.
The Gauntlet: It is hard. I do a little publicity in the porn area so I somewhat understand.
Ville: You do! My dad has a sex shop. That's cool. What companies do you work with?
The Gauntlet: One of the companies is Extreme Associates. They do a lot of the extreme porn like blood, vomit, gore, horror and stuff.
Ville: Oh cool, vomit and blood. That's nice.
The Gauntlet: I stay away from that stuff though.
Ville: I saw a video on the net with these three chicks kicking the balls of the guy. How am I supposed to take a wank to that. There are crazy people out there for sure. It is interesting to say the least.
The Gauntlet: You gotta have some fun in life. I hate to change the subject, but you do have a new album coming out soon titled 'Venus Doom.' I just got to hear it and I must say it was great.
Ville: Thank you. We are really happy with it. Tim Palmer, our producer, was happy and the band was happy. It was a mental struggle to get all the shit together. I was going through some rough times. One of my close friends committed suicide. I wrote a song for him called 'The Kiss of Dawn.' I shouldn't have done that. I should have written about birds and ice cream cones and shit like that. But I am Scandinavian and I like to dwell in misery. That miserable cunt of a place. It was the toughest process so far, I was going through some really tough shit.
The Gauntlet: This album is more guitar heavy and less keyboard based than the previous HIM albums.
Ville: Keyboards are so fucking full blown gay. I love Duran Duran, but there is only so much you can take. There is nothing wrong with being gay. Unfortunately I am heterosexual. I have been talking to the band wishing we were gay. Imagine this massive tour bus orgy every night. It would be beautiful. We come in all shapes and sizes; genitalia and stomachs. It would be a beautiful combination of all the best love can offer. Unfortunately I am drawn to the ladies and I'd rather perform for them.
The Gauntlet: It could make for a great HIM video.
Ville: And it will.
The Gauntlet: The songs have a very elaborate setup and ending. There are also some 6-10 minute songs on there.
Ville: Through all the alcohol and drugs we do, our short term memory is fucked up. So we just keep playing the same riffs over and over. It is like a lava lamp situation. AC/DC can repeat the same music that they do. We just wanted to try some new things out. We wanted the album to be more guitar heavy as you mentioned and less gay. We wanted to have a very heavy and Sabbath-y record. We didn't want to have three and a half minute singles for the German market. It is nice to be a sonic cunt, I am very happy for being one of those.
The Gauntlet: 'Dark Light' was a very clean sounding album compared to this.
Ville: It was a little shiny. That was the idea. We just wanted it to be layered. We wanted this album to be more analog and played. Our drummer Gas is playing a lot more and is not as restricted.
The Gauntlet: While listening, I thought the song 'Sleepwalking' was going to be a piano ballad based on the intro, but that quickly was followed by a nice heavy guitar shred.
Ville: Yeah, the fucking cunty. Our wannabe Zakk Wylde-Sabbath thing. I am very proud of Linde, he is a great guy. He is a man of few words, but of many licks.
The Gauntlet: It was hard for me to get into 'Dark Light'. That album basically beat me into submission after hearing the tracks so many times. But 'Venus Doom' is something I can listen to and enjoy from the very start.
Ville: Oh really, that is interesting about 'Dark Light.' With 'Venus Doom' that's perfect, that's what we wanted. Mastodon and Machine Head just did their finest works. We just are a road sign to Black Sabbath. That is why we exist.
The Gauntlet: HIM used to play a lot of Black Sabbath songs.
Ville: Yeah, we played some songs. We also played a lot of Janes Addiction as well. I don't know if ‘flabbergasted’ is the right word. It just feels weird after all these years of work. I don't know how it sounds as I am too close to it.
The Gauntlet: From your initial concept of the album and songs to when it was finally mixed and mastered, how much variation did it undergo?
Ville: Well, it depended on how drunk I was. Things change because you just need to go with the flow. That is all you can do. Pretend that you are sonically as good as Dolly and then vomit. You have self doubts and things you want to change but you cannot change forever. You got to go with the flow and respect what is done is done. If we went back and re-recorded it, it would be different. Of course it would because I am now at a different place.
The Gauntlet: Do you feel you might alienate some of your core fanbase with this album?
Ville: Fuck them! When you do music, it is like a sonic wank, like masturbation. You need to make yourself happy. In the group we hope to make the band happy. And hopefully there will be wanks all around. That's the best way I can put it. When you start thinking about markets, you are going to be really peeing on your own legs which is why all the goth bands wear black. I fell in love, I fell out of love with things people write; literature and poetry. I feel so intensively that it makes me cry which in turn makes me write a song. That is how I work, I feel something. It is not necessarily a good place for me. I am really happy that people seem to like what we are doing. We aren't a 3rd grade goth pub rock band trying to be Andrew Eldritch [The Sisters of Mercy] without the amphetamines.
The Gauntlet: A lot of goths might be removing their heartagram tattoos.
Ville: Well you should know that when we started and I created the heartagram, I invested all my money in laser tattoo removal surgery. [laughs]
The Gauntlet: How do you keep your voice so in tune with the amount of drinking and cigarettes you consume?
Ville: I sound like a fucking choir boy if I don't smoke or drink. It takes a toll on my mentality and all that. Guitar players have their wah pedals and their distortion. I love all the raspy kind of fellows. If I can't be masculine enough from the decrease in my sperm levels from smoking, I can at least be masculine in my voice. Let's say it's a mismatch.
The Gauntlet: That's cool I guess...
Ville: No it's not. [laughs]
The Gauntlet: Any last words?
Ville: No because I am going to continue. This isn't it.
The Gauntlet: Never?
Ville: With all I have done to my physical temple, I will be dead in 4 years. I will give you my last words then.
The Gauntlet: That's a pretty bleak outlook.
Ville: Yeah. Cease the Day. My great mentor said once, 'Life is short, love is always over in the morning.' That is the bleakest thing I ever heard, but it is very true.